The COVID-19 pandemic has been a very challenging time for many of our partners right across Africa. But tough situations inspire creativity and new ways of working. For example, instead of travelling to meet with the pastors and church leaders we work alongside, we set up monthly gatherings on Zoom. Now travel is possible again, our online meetings are continuing especially because they are creating a greater sense of fellowship between our African partners, something that was lacking before. It’s great to listen to church leaders from Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, Mali and DRC discussing and learning from each other’s experience. Recently, one of our partners from Rwanda spent several months in Zambia to study English. While he was there, he sought out a familiar face from the APF online meetings. Emmanuel explains…
My name is Revd Emmanuel Gatera from Kamembe in Rwanda, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. I lead a network of churches called Word of Life Church.
I would like to share with you something about the connection I made while I was in Lusaka, Zambia.
Since March and up to June 2022, I was in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia at English language school. During the time I spent there, I had the privilege of creating friendships with pastors and organisations.
Through the connection with the APF Zoom meetings, I had already met Pastor Charles Mwampe from Zambia Youth Ministries online so we met in-person while I was in Lusaka.
Pastor Charles then invited me to attend the Zambia Youth Ministries conference. It was wonderful to speak at this conference on the theme “Why is it wise to trust in God not in men?” using Psalm 146:1-10 and Psalm 125:1-2. Many of the youth responded to the message and decided to put their trust in God.
There are many benefits of networking with pastors and organisations pan-Africa. It is so important for African pastors to grow in friendship and work together in growing the Kingdom of God by sharing the opportunities they have.
During the three months I spent in Lusaka, I was hosted in the home of a ‘bishop’ of a young Pentecostal church group. He is the Chairman of 100 different churches in this network and these churches showed me love as I ministered with them.
It was good to learn about their unity as churches. They meet each Monday between 4pm and 6pm for praying, sharing God’s word and helping each other so that each one can have a business of doing.
My prayer is that this fellowship can grow up.